Travelling to experience, learn and immerse yourself in a different culture is exhilarating. Instead of reading about foreign places in books, choose to step outside your comfort zone. Build lasting cross-cultural relationships, and learn foreign languages. Experience the world, for personal and global transformation. In 2015, I embarked on a volunteer internship in Brasilia, Brazil. Then, in 2016, I moved to Tel Aviv Israel to become an International Student at Tel Aviv University. Traveling and learning in different places exposed me to different perspectives, and allowed me to grow my mind. I quickly learned that opportunities were limitless and nothing was impossible. What are you waiting for? Get out of your comfort zone to learn while seeing the world.
Make LifeLong International Friendships
The best part about embarking on an international exchange is the new relationships and friends you make. When far away from home, you’re able to be the true version of yourself. This is because you’re away from societal, family and personal expectations and pressures. When traveling, our true characteristics are able to shine. Naturally like-minded people connect as that’s what human beings like to do, connect. The quality of friendships I made while traveling are golden. When traveling, people get the opportunity to see you for your raw characteristics, for what really makes you special. These bonds result in lifelong international friendships.
True personal growth happens outside our comfort zones. As I leaped outside my comfort zone, everyday was a new challenge of the unknown. I had to be resilient, independent and brave to handle the different challenges that came my way. As a result of traveling, I grew as a person. Through learning about the world around me, I discovered who I truly am. Since 2015, I have been self employed and continue to live a life of freedom and adventure. I’ve been able to harness my true potential.
A bonus of immersing yourself into a new culture is trying lots of new food! When I moved to Brazil, I couldn’t stop eating everything in sight. I just had to try everything as everything was so exotic. Brazil has fruit that I had never even seen back in Canada! The same happened when I moved to Israel. I can still taste the hummus, and fresh vegetables. Of course, in addition to eating all this new food, try to learn a new language at the same time! Learning how to speak Portuguese and Hebrew was rejuvenating. All of a sudden, I could communicate in a different language that was not my mother tongue! The feeling of empowerment is something everyone should experience. Plus, they say that you can’t really learn a culture until you can speak the language! My favourite app for learning a new language is DuoLingo. I recommend that you start learning before arriving at your destination.
Travel Abroad Now
Don’t wait to travel the world, travel abroad now. The more time you stall and make up excuses, the further you are from becoming your authentic self. Do you want to travel but you’re afraid? Ask yourself what you are afraid of. If you’re worried about being far away from home, technology helps keep everyone connected. With platforms like Skype and Zoom, video chat is easy from anywhere in the world. Often relationships with family members become stronger at a distance. You may never get this opportunity to just pack your bags and leave again, don’t wait to travel, travel abroad now.
Citizen of the World
A Citizen of the World is someone who can feel at home anywhere they are in the world. Does that sound appealing to you? Are you curious about different cultures? Do you want to live a life of purpose to yourself and to others? Travel shows you that you are a Citizen of the World. You will start to disidentify with your nationalistic identity, and see yourself as a global citizen.
When I was traveling for two years I hated being asked “Where are you from?”. While I am originally from Ottawa, I had been living in Brazil and Israel, so far away from my “Canadian identity”. As a society, there’s a need to want to categorize everyone, but in fact we are all human beings, all here on earth with a purpose.
Read about how I discovered my purpose while traveling, volunteering and studying internationally in my first book, Citizen of the World: A Guide to Self Discovery and Adventure.
Citizen of the World is an interactive workbook with exploratory questions to inspire action outside of your comfort zone.
Click the link above to join the Citizen of the World Newsletter and receive a free Kindle eBook.
By Kathleen Parisien